I send back an angry face emoji, which gets me a kiss-blowing emoji back. I fire one back before putting my phone away and pulling out my schedule, which I have memorized already.
I have a few minutes before my first class. I already took a tour of the school last week. It’s super nice, even fancier than my boarding school, which surprises me because this school has kids from all walks of life. It’s entirely funded by some patents owned by the founder—Franklin somebody or other. Since I have time, I should probably just go to my first class and find a seat but I find myself stalled in the middle of the hallway for no good reason.
When a warm body comes up behind me, I know exactly what’s going on. When I was in the car earlier I’d been thinking of him and he materialized out of nowhere. Once again my thoughts have summoned him and his rude arm to my side. Even though my body enjoys having that arm around me, I wasn’t going to let him assume that he could do whatever he wants.
I turn my head around toward him and my eyes meet his amazing gaze. My demeanor instantly softens with his warm look and he’s still smiling at me.
“Why are you following me?”
“We have the same class, Ace.”
“Ace?” I lift an eyebrow at him. That’s the second time he’s called me that.
“You ever not ace something?” That smile fully comes back now. He looks almost proud of me. When it comes to school and most things, I do excel at them so the nickname fits. I put my everything into the things I do. My mom taught me that. Except cooking. I definitely do not ace that.
“How do you know I ace everything?” I challenge. This is only the second time we’ve ever met. It’s only the first we’ve ever talked. I was sure I’d never see him again after that day in the mall.
“I could say I just know everything but the truth is—” He leans down a little so his mouth is close to my ear. I should pull back but my body leans right back into him. “I asked. After I saw you at the mall, I did some research, found your name and your class schedule.”
“That’s creepy,” I declare but inside, in the back of my head, I’m thrilled. I hate myself.
“I told you about it, though. I think that takes some of the weird factor away. Besides, when I see something I want, I go for it, but I have a feeling you get that. Don’t you, Ace?” The way he says the nickname he’s given me is all too knowing. I have to fight myself from having a goofy grin on my face. So I go with changing the subject because I don’t know what to make of Owen.
“At my old school we had a board that showed club sign-ups and other random stuff the school had going on. Is there somewhere that displays that information here?” My attempt at redirecting our discussion seems to work.
“I plan to show you everything, Ace.” His long arm points down the hall. “Let me show you the way.”
I see a few people turn to look at us. I wonder if it’s because I’m new or if they are looking at Owen who, despite not touching me, is in my personal space. We probably look like a couple.
“There a certain club or activity you want to join? There’s a shit-ton here, but I don’t participate in any. Just football.” For the first time, he looks slightly unsure of himself.
That tiny bit of vulnerability speaks to me and some of my annoyance melts away. “I’m going to choose something else. I’m not really cut out for football,” I tease, peeking up at him under my lashes.
“It’s not all about being on the field. I bet you could come up with some killer plays for us. That’s all head stuff.”
I laugh at him coming up with a way for me to be involved. I don’t know much about football. Sometimes I’ll read on the sofa while Dad will have a game on. I’ve gone to a few games with him too. I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit it can be fun to yell from the stands. I also knew it made my dad happy when I’d cheer along with him.
When we get to the board I scan it but nothing stands out. When I enrolled they’d already put me into science club, I should pick up another. My eyes fly past yearbook and prom club. I give culinary club a glance before landing on sewing. Now, that could be useful. I am good at it but I want to be better. I can’t become a surgeon without top-notch sewing skills.